Installation can be a tricky step in Linux. You need some specific information about hardware, such as the disk controller, video card, and CD-ROM drive. Linux controls the hardware through drivers, so you need to make sure that the current release of Linux includes drivers for your hardware. Because Linux is free, you cannot really demand—or expect—support for some specific hardware. Linux is, however, continually improving through collaboration among programmers throughout the world. If your hardware is popular enough, there’s a good chance that someone has developed a driver for it. In any case, the Red Hat Linux on the companion CD-ROMs already supports such a wide variety of hardware that all your PC’s peripherals probably are supported.
The following steps describe the general procedure for installing and configuring Linux and the X Windows System.
Gather information about your PC’s hardware, such as the graphics card, network card, and SCSI card before you install Linux.
Create space for Linux by reducing the size of the existing Windows partition. For Windows 95/98/Me use the nondestructive repartitioning program, FIPS, to repartition your hard disk without destroying the existing contents. For Windows NT/2000/XP systems that use an NTFS partition, use a commercial disk-partitioning program, such as PowerQuest’s PartitionMagic (http://www.powerquest.com/partitionmagic/), to shrink the NTFS partition and create room for Linux. Skip this step if you plan to use Linux as the sole operating system or if you plan to install Red Hat Linux on a DOS/Windows partition or on an empty second hard disk.
If your PC cannot boot directly from the CD-ROM, create a Linux installer boot disk under DOS or Windows.
Boot your PC from the first CD-ROM or boot with the Linux installer boot disk (in either case, make sure that the first CD-ROM is in the CD-ROM drive). This procedure automatically runs the Red Hat Linux installer. From this point on, you must respond to a number of dialog boxes as the Red Hat installer takes you through the steps. Here are some of the key installation steps:
Identify any SCSI adapters installed on your PC.
Let the installer automatically create partitions for Red Hat Linux by using the free space you had created by shrinking the existing Windows partition.
Configure the Ethernet network, if any. You may have to specify parameters, such as the IP address and hostname for your Red Hat Linux system.
Specify the local time zone and set the root password.
Install the GRUB boot loader program on your hard disk’s master boot record (MBR) so that you can boot Linux when you power up your PC after shutting it down.
Select the specific software package groups that you want to install, such as the X Window System and the GNOME Desktop Environment.
Configure the X Window System and enable the graphical login screen so that when you boot your Linux system, it displays a login dialog box and goes directly into the GNOME or KDE graphical desktop after successful login.
To install specific items from the CD-ROM to your hard drive, follow these steps:
Log in as root.
Insert the CD-ROM into your computer’s CD-ROM drive.
If you are using GNOME or KDE GUI, wait for the CD to mount. Otherwise, open a terminal window and at the command prompt type:
mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
Browse the CD-ROM and follow the instructions in Chapter 21 to install individual software packages.
To remove the CD-ROM from your CD-ROM drive, at the command prompt type:
You can also right-click on the CD-ROM icon on the desktop and choose Eject from the selections. This will unmount your CD-ROM and eject it.